Officials move to stop the dumping of grease into town sewers

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:48

    BYRAM—Byram is developing a plan to go after restaurants that dump grease into the township's sewer system. Although restaurants hooked up to town sewers are supposed to have grease traps that prevent most of the grease from entering the system, grease-clogs two- to three-feet thick are choking municipal pipes. According to officials, not only do the clogs ruin the equipment and the pumps, but they create a terrible odor. Hundreds of citizens have been complaining about the smell created by grease clogs. "Believe me," said Town Manager Gregory Poff, "the stench from grease is far more disgusting than that of any sewage." The problem seems to be centered around Pump Station No. 2, located slightly south of Barone's Restaurant. Grease is generated in several places in the area, including Barone's, Shop-Rite, McDonald's, Tokyo East, Dairy Queen, and local schools. The township council has all but ruled out the schools as a source of the grease. But Pat Barone, owner of Barone's Restaurant, said the township is overlooking a big problem. "Those schools serve hundreds of meals each day, five days a week," he said. "That adds up to a lot more than any area restaurants." Barone said he too has been complaining to the township for years "Because the pump station is located right next door, my property bears the brunt of the smell," he said. "That's not good for business." Not only was Barone one of the first to hook up to the township's sewers, he has two systems to make sure the grease is filtered out, he said. Everything that goes into the sink first passes through the grease trap, then is funneled into a holding tank. It then moves into the town sewer system. The trapped grease is pumped regularly ever two to three months on a schedule set up by a pumping company based on grease build up. "When I had a septic system, at least eight years before, I never had a problem, never had an odor," said Barone. Now all I have are problems." Barone said he has gone through a great deal of effort and expense to do whatever the township has asked of him, but to no avail. "These guys in the town don't know what is going on," he said. "There is a serious problem here." The township admits the source of the problem is unknown and that it must investigate door by door. The preliminary plan is to contact each business to review the sewer ordinances and then send inspectors to insure the restaurants are following a regular grease pumping schedule. If not, the township will enforce its ordinance, but officials have not yet determined just what that will entail. "This is a real financial burden on the town," said Poff. "We are going to have to find a way to put a stop to it."